Saturday, June 9, 2012

Chef's Tasting

Here are photos from last night's Chef's Tasting. Appearing for the first time this year are cherries, summer squash, sockeye salmon, new potatoes, and red raspberries. This is likely the very last tasting of the year to feature strawberries and asparagus: only the weather knows for sure.

Deviled Egg
This dish is the happy coincidence of foie gras and duck eggs. You know, the late afternoon, between shifts conversation on the deck that goes like, "What happens if we mix foie gras into a deviled egg?" The result is so rich that it can only be eaten in tiny quantities. Notice the relative size of the cornichon fan to the egg-foie mousse. We kept adding more and more pickle brine to the mousse to balance the fat and the acid. The olive-looking critter in the center is a truffled pickled immature peach.

Sockeye Salmon
Over the years, I have done many takes on a dish of salmon and Thai curry and this is another. The sauce is a green Thai curry and the green dots are a curried avocado mousse. In the center of the plate are cubes of deep-fried salmon and avocado, topped with some tobiko for crunch and a little Thai basil.

Soft Shell Crab
Not much to say here except the salad is awesome. It's a mix of Beth's mesclun, bean sprouts, carrots, Thai basil, cilantro, and green onions tossed in a dressing of vinegar, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, chile paste, and garlic. Very Vietnamese and very cooling and refreshing.

June Salad
Gorgeous! The first new potatoes of the year down in a ring with grilled asparagus over and then topped with a sauté of peas, asparagus, and morels in a white wine and shallot butter sauce. A quail egg gilds the lily. These peas are so amazingly sweet that we probably ate more than half of what we shelled. They are addictive!

Squash and Goat Cheese
This is a quick taste of summer in an otherwise late spring menu. Because of our crazy spring, everything is running 2-3 weeks early, including these awesome pattypan squash that we sliced, grilled, and stacked with rounds of fried goat cheese. The goat cheese is an amazingly creamy product that was made locally on Wednesday (and served on Friday). We mixed it with roasted red pepper before forming it into rounds and breading it. A drizzle of pesto and some borage blossoms complete the garnishes.

Pork and Cherries
We love cherry season! Sorry this photo is so dark. All hell was breaking loose in the kitchen at the time: the dining room was full and our ticket rail was overflowing onto the counter. We were in hyperdrive, which lends itself not at all to decent photography. On the left there is a pork cheek, braised, chilled, sliced, and crisped in a steel pan, topped with a cherry-celery salsa. Cherries and celery, sweet and bitter, yin and yang, awesome! In the center on top of the grits is a piece of our pork belly topped with the remains of our dried cherry olivada, a tapenade-like relish. On the right is a salad of microgreens and pork confit threads. We cure the pork confit and age it under duck fat. For this dish, we shredded it and deep fried it, then mixed it with greens and tossed it in a cherry vinaigrette. All our pork is certified Berkshire.

This is a fun and light way to celebrate the end of strawberries and the beginning of raspberries. Their seasons only ever overlap for a week or two. I baked some oatmeal tuiles and layered them with a lemon meringue and fresh berries. Simple, light, and a fitting ending to a late spring menu.

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